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Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

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Conditions We Treat: Subglottic Stenosis

Subglottic stenosis is the narrowing of the airway just below the vocal cords (subglottis). Stenosis refers to the narrowing of a body part. Subglottic stenosis is the formal diagnosis if you are experiencing narrowing just below the vocal cords and above the trachea which makes it difficult for air to pass in and out of the lungs. 

Subglottic Stenosis: What You Need to Know

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  • Symptoms of subglottic stenosis include noisy or difficult breathing or the inability to breathe without a tracheostomy tube.

  • Subglottic stenosis is rare and early signs of this condition may be misdiagnosed as asthma or bronchitis.

  • Surgical repair of subglottic stenosis may require cartilage from your rib in order to open the airway and provide structural support. Cartilage from the ribs because has a unique balance of elasticity and rigidity needed to support an airway. 

  • Depending on the location of the narrowed airway, you may be diagnosed with glottic stenosis rather than subglottic stenosis which refers to narrowing at the vocal cords rather than just below them. 

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Why Choose Johns Hopkins for Subglottic Stenosis Treatment?

Treatment of Complex Airway Disorders – FAQs

Otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon, Alexander Hillel, M.D., Director of the Johns Hopkins Complex Airway Clinic, discusses complex airway disorders (layngotracheal stenosis), how to get a correct diagnosis and what treatment options are available depending on the severity of the disease.

complex airway team

Our Multidisciplinary Team of Physicians

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Comprehensive Treatment of Subglottic Stenosis: What to Expect


The Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery works with a multidisciplinary approach to ensure the highest quality patient care informed by innovative research. You will get a comprehensive treatment plan based on your evaluation. Should any surgery be recommended, those procedures will be performed at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and we will provide you with a follow-up report.